Love, Murder and a Happily Ever After

Leslie Langry HeadshotMy last guest on the Great Blog Takeover is Leslie Langtry, author of The Bombay Family of Assassins’ darkly funny mysteries including ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY. Her latest book, SEX, LIES & FAMILY VACATIONS, is a romantic comedy. Leslie lives in the Midwest with her family and an obnoxious number of pets.

Leslie is here to make you laugh talk to you about how she fell in love with romance novels. And to make you laugh. And so, without further ado, here’s Leslie.

* * * * *

Leslie Langrty Book Cover

Thank you Suzanne for having me today!  In honor of this event – I’m giving away copies of two of my books; ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY, and SEX, LIES & FAMILY VACATIONS to two of you who comment today.

I love romance.  I didn’t come to it like most of the girls I knew who read Judy Blume’s FOREVER and were hooked from the start.  I was a weird kid who read UNCLE TOM’S CABIN in middle school study hall. In fact, the teacher running study hall once came up and grabbed my copy of CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, accusing me of hiding a romance novel between the covers of the classic.  BTW – I wasn’t. I was just a geek.

My friends read 500 page books they called ‘bodice rippers.’  They had titles with words like ‘Ravish’ and ‘Lust’ in the titles, and the heroes had names like ‘Rafe’ and ‘Storm.’ But I didn’t read them either.  It wasn’t that I was a snob, it was just that they didn’t interest me…and I was kind of weird. Okay, a lot weird.

My Mom remarried about that time. My Stepfather was awesome. But he didn’t know much about what girls my age liked. So one weekend, when he was at a used bookstore, he found a box of books he thought were perfect for me.  He brought them home and handed them over. It was a bunch of vintage Harlequin romances from the ‘60’s.

I didn’t know what to do with them and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I read them.  Which lead to reading more of them.  Probably hundreds – I’m not sure.  I liked these short, modern day novels where women had jobs and didn’t wear 300lbs of clothing.

But I still didn’t read a lot of romance. I went through the usual Golden Age of Science Fiction (which is age 13, in case you’re wondering) and mainlined Agatha Christie like a junkie after experiencing the gateway drug –  Nancy Drew. And I still read classics.

What I didn’t realize was that I was reading romance, in the form of LONESOME DOVE, ANNA KARENINA AND GONE WITH THE WIND.

It wasn’t until my 30’s that I really started discovering romance books. And when I attempted to write my first book – it was a historical romance. It sucked by the way. So did the next three.  No one will ever, ever see them.  I’m not kidding.

I joined Romance Writers of America and realized I’d been missing out on about a million amazing books. I also learned that I needed to write my own books my own way. Which is how I ended up writing and selling ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY – a comic/romance/mystery novel about a woman who’s in the family business, which just happens to be assassination.  This led to other Bombay books.

A few years back, I wanted to try my hand at writing a really, emotionally intense romance that didn’t include people killing each other or some strange mystery. So, I wrote what became SEX,LIES & FAMILY VACATIONS.  It’s different from other books in the genre, because the main characters are in failing marriages when they find each other on vacation at a theme park. But then, I’m not sure I could write a normal book. My stuff will probably always be a little strange.

Since then, I’ve focused on my romance reading education. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time to read everything I want to and I still like mystery, sci-fi, history, etc. But I’m getting there!

What was your introduction to romance novels?

Leslie Langtry
Author of THE BOMBAY FAMILY OF ASSASSINS Series & SEX, LIES & FAMILY VACATIONS out now!

Author of the YA Horror series as Max Deimos – HANGING TREE TALES – HELL HOUSE out now! WITCH HILL coming soon!
To learn more about Leslie, visit her website at: http://www.leslielangtry.com/about-leslie.html
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What Makes You Reach For The Sky?

Today I am thrilled to have funny lady Jenny Hansen in the house, and she has some life changing advice you don’t want to miss. And so, without further ado, here she is.

Photo Credit: Becca Puglisi, Rainbow Mountains ~ What makes you reach for the sky?

Photo: WANA Commons – Becca Puglisi, Rainbow Mountains ~ What makes you reach for the sky?

Can you believe Suzanne let us take over her blog? This is so great. Normally, I’d wreak some havoc and talk about undies or something, but I figure our gal is starting to get stir crazy.

Surgery is it’s own kind of pain, but recovery is the pits. And her drugs are starting to wear off! So, I’m gonna change it up and send her some inspiration. I hope y’all will help me down in the comments section.

Several years ago, I went to a motivational seminar and saw Zig Ziglar live. Two words: Life Changing.

He wasn’t a young man by any means but he was the guy with the most energy and enthusiasm. I’ve never figured out how he could be animated and humble, fun and motivating, all at the same time but it was a gift just to watch him.

23 Gems from The Zig. Everyone one of them makes me smile.

  1. 90 percent of doctor’s visits are due to stress.
  2. The relationships that you have are most important – more than all other things combined.
  3. The more things you have that money won’t buy, the more things you’ll have that money will buy.
  4. Take what you already have to offer. When you recognize and use what you already know, you will be able to use these things to succeed.
  5. How you see yourself is what makes the biggest difference in the performance of your life.
  6. When you change your attitude and tell yourself positive messages, your life will change. A negative approach to life will reinforce what you CAN’T do. You need to be sure that you emphasize your talents, at least to yourself. You will get further.
  7. Every third person is remarkably handsome. Why can’t you be that third person?
  8. If you are somebody to anybody, then you are somebody.
  9. If we can make Pencillin out of moldy bread, then God can make something amazing out of you.
  10. You have to plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.
  11. Your dreams are very important.
  12. A priority driven life is what you need to have.
  13. You need a balanced goal program: Physical, spiritual and mental.
  14. Work like you’re going on vacation every day.
  15. Find out things that you don’t know.
  16. Optimism is the most important hiring trait.
  17. Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.
  18. Do everything with integrity so that you have nothing to hide.
  19. God on the mountaintop is the same as God in the valley.
  20. Overcome the perception of what people think you are and embrace the reality of what you can become.
  21. You have to throw different pitchers to different batters.
  22. Understand the difference between refusal and rejection. When someone refuses you, they are saying they don’t know. No one can reject you unless you let them. You’ll go do your thing somewhere else.
  23. Communication is about heart.

Do you have a #24 to add to this list for Suzanne? Which one is your favorite? What’s the most memorable piece of “life advice” you’ve heard lately?

 

Sweet Spot (2)

As an extra piece of happy for all of you, I’m giving away an e-copy (platform of your choice) of Laura Drake’s RITA Award winning book, The Sweet Spot. She’s my critique partner so I know this book well. It’s about second chances, hope, love and bull semen. For real… I promise, it rocks…

~ Jenny
@JennyHansenCA

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

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Your Gift as a Romance Author

Today I am pleased to have contemporary and historical romance writer, Kathy L Wheeler (writing as Kae Elle Wheeler) here to talk to you about the gift you have to share with the world. And you don’t need to be a romance writer to have it.

Kathy L WheelerKathy was born in Presque Isle, Maine. How she ended up in Texas, Colorado, and then Oklahoma is as much a mystery to her as anyone. She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a BA in Management Information Systems and a minor in Vocal Music.

Kathy/Kae lives with her musically talented husband in Edmond, Oklahoma, has one grown daughter and a bossy cat! Other passions include fantasy football, NBA, travel and musical theatre.

Kathy has generously offered to gift a copy of one of her books (your choice! e-book only). all you have to do to be eligible is leave a comment below. She will be here all day to answer your questions and reply to your comments.

Okay, Kathy, you’re on!

* * * * *

If you are ever in the need for a Romance Writers Conference, let me recommend the New Jersey’s conference held in Iselin, New Jersey.

Imagine, my dear romance writing friend, you are seated at the bar chatting to fellow attendees, when suddenly you are surrounded by the likes of Julie Ann Long, Julianne MacLean, Miranda Neville, Madeline Hunter, and keynote speaker — Sharon Sala. I thought I’d died and gone to Romance Writing Heaven.

The romance writing adventures and advice from such seasoned professionals flowed around me like the winds of a southern plains storm. So much to revel in. So much to learn!

Will I make it to their level?  Time will only tell.

What did I learn?  To persevere. I will not give up….I will not give up….I will not give up…

I wrote this over a year ago after I attended the Put Your Heart in a Book Conference in Iselin, New Jersey.  The parade of speakers presented was a star-studded list for the romance world that left me breathless.

What, might you ask, does this have to do with today? Plenty, when I tell you the topic of this discussion is Networking. Who do you know? Who might you meet? Who can help you?

AND:  Who can YOU help?

Yes, Networking is all about give and take. Of course, when someone asks you something about you, you answer. That’s a given. But what can you give in return? Start with asking them questions about them. Even better—listen to what they have to say.

That my friend, the truest gift you have to offer.

What about you? What do you consider to be your gift?

To learn more about Kathy / Kae Elle, look for her here:
http://kathylwheeler.com
http://facebook.com/kathylwheeler
http://twitter.com/kathylwheeler
http://www.amazon.com/Kae-Elle-Wheeler/e/B007MPCH4I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1407955894&sr=1-1

“A dainty foot means nothing when one’s eyes flutter enough to change the weather. A deterrent to any prospective intended!”

Kathy L Wheeler Book Cover (2)

 

In addition to Kathy’s generous offer of a free copy of an e-book of your choice, I will sweeten the pot. For every comment you leave in the next two weeks, you’ll be entered to win a copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL. To increase your chance of winning, please subscribe to receive email notification of future posts (by entering your email address in the box above and to your right) and you’ll be entered into the drawing one additional time.

Photos provided by Kathy L Wheeler

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Looking for Love (in all the wrong places)

Cindy Sample HeadshotToday I am THRILLED to have my friend (and Queen of the Cozy Mystery), funny lady Cindy Sample as my guest.

When she was eight, Cindy’s dream was to be a super cool detective like Nancy Drew, racing around town in a sky blue roadster. At sixteen, she realized her inherent klutziness could be an impediment to becoming a private eye or super spy so her new goal was to become a world-renown mystery writer like Agatha Christie. A few decades and diversions later, she was a newly divorced Mom and CEO, driving her kids to cheerleading and soccer practice. In a sky blue SUV.

Thus began the inspiration for her quirky, loveable heroine in her Dying For… cozy mystery series (all of which I have personally devoured and highly recommend).

Today Cindy is here to talk about her (and Laurel’s) adventures in dating. Okay, Cindy…take it away!

* * *

Looking for love…in all the wrong places. Some of you may recall that line from a famous song. It perfectly describes my dating life and that of my protagonist, Laurel McKay, a newly divorced soccer mom.

Ever since Dying for a Date was released, people assume I’m an expert on dating, which could be why I was asked to guest blog on the subject of romance. I will admit I’ve been brave enough to venture onto a variety of on-line dating sites in search of Mr. Right. And yes, I’ve gone on coffee dates with 44 potential Mr. Rights. My protagonist, on the other hand, was talked into joining a matchmaking agency called THE LOVE CLUB, the safe alternative to on-line dating.

And that’s where our paths diverge. My coffee dates have resulted in interesting conversations with some very cool, mature men, with the exception of the one guy who tried to impress me by sharing that his best friend was an assassin (honest, I wouldn’t joke about that).

Cindy Sample Cowboy Pic

Cindy keeping her date in line.

Baby boomer dating can lead to unique issues such as your coffee date cancelling your first meeting because he needs a four-way bypass! Maybe I should adopt Kaiser’s policy of requiring they bring all their medications to our first meet!

Now Laurel’s first date enjoyed her company so much he wanted to have HER for dessert. So she did what any resourceful woman would do. She whacked him on the head with the first viable weapon she could find, a cell phone. Things start going downhill when he’s found murdered the next day, with her unfortunately the last person to see him alive. When her second date disappears during dinner, the handsome detective in charge of the investigation can’t figure out if she could be the killer or the next victim

Rumor has it that authors write what they know. I evidently know dating, but so far, no one has died on my watch.

Yet.

I’m dying to know if anyone has ever gone on a date so bad that a few dastardly thoughts crossed your mind? Or maybe you’d like to share one of your protagonist’s bad date stories? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $10 Starbucks gift card. For that next coffee date! I’ll be here today to answer any questions you have (about dating or other topics).

For more information or additional dating tips from Cindy, check out her website at www.cindysamplebooks.com.

Look for Cindy’s latest book, DYING FOR A DUDE, due out November 1, 2014.

In addition to Cindy’s generous offer of a $10 Starbucks card, I will sweeten the pot. For every comment you leave, you’ll be entered to win a copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL. To increase your chance of winning, please subscribe to receive email notification of future posts (by entering your email address in the box above and to your right) and you’ll be entered into the drawing one additional time.

Photos provided by Cindy Sample.

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Fixations as Writing Fodder

Yvonne Kohano HeaadshotToday I am very excited to welcome my good friend and fellow author, Yvonne Kohano. Yvonne is the author of six novels in the Flynn’s Crossing series.

As writers, we are often asked about the inspiration behind our books. The truth is, motivation comes from everywhere, and often in the places we expect it the least.

 

 

Yvonne is here to taunt you talk about fixations and how they serve her in her writing process. And to give you a taste of her brilliant writing style.

Without further ado, here’s Yvonne.

* * *

“The intensity of his gaze never wavered, his body almost vibrating with the need to move. He waits, allowing the seconds to draw out into a full minute, breathing slowly and deeply to contain his exhilaration. Prolonging the moment would only make the end result sweeter, bringing the much-needed release he craved.”

Does that sound like a killer about to strike?  A commando awaiting the order to go-go-go?  A terrorist about to make something go boom?  A lover in the throes of passion?  Read on.

“His fixation couldn’t be explained.  It lived in his DNA, and he was powerless to fight it.  The strength of his obsession overpowered any compassion he might have shown.  There was no other answer for this.  He had to attack.”

Ah, this isn’t sounding good for whatever this guy is focused on, does it?  Truth be told, we all fixate on something, whether it’s a love interest or a promotion, the flavors of our next meal or something darker and more harmful.  It’s in our nature to pursue something, even if it’s the belief that we’re laid back and don’t stress over anything.

I fixate on a number of things.  Writing, photography, travel.  I’ve never met a bookstore I could leave empty-handed and plants in garden nurseries make me weep with joy.  Routines bore me and new experiences are a must.  Luckily, I’m married to a wonderful man who isn’t terrorized when I need to throw things into a state of chaos on a regular basis.

Fixations make for great writing fodder too!  Here’s more.

“Shivers of ecstasy run through him, and his mouth opens slightly, panting.  There is no past, no future.  There is only this moment, the present, and he is poised to strike.  His quarry will never know, never understand, and most of all, never survive.”

Can you feel the intensity of his mania?  As a writer, I observe and experience these kinds of situations to help me create emotions in my characters.  Watch a child about to dig into an ice cream sundae, or wrench jockeys at a drag race when the fuel ignites, or foodies sitting down to a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant.  The anticipation builds and you can see it on their faces and in their body language.  Capturing that fixation makes my writer’s life worthwhile.

What happened to our hero/villain above?

“The cry, a mixture of taunt and promise, pulled the trigger and he leaped forward, covering the distance in three bounds.  The crow gave a flap of its glossy black wings, sounding its jeer to provoke him further, and he jumped high, missing the bird as it cleared the fence and disappeared over the neighboring yard. Tail curled and poised, he scanned the horizon, every vigilant in case another of the intruders waited for his guard to falter.”

Yvonne Flynn

Did I mention that the inspiration for this is my hound dog, Flynn, fixating on a crow in the backyard?  Inspiration comes from many places!

Where does your creative inspiration come from, whatever your favorite medium?  I’d love to hear about it! And as an added incentive, I will gift any of the books in my Flynn’s Crossing series to one lucky commenter.

Happy creating – Yvonne

Blunt Cut Justice, Book 7 in the Flynn’s Crossing Series, coming this fall!  Follow Yvonne at www.yvonnekohano.com, on Facebook as Yvonne Kohano, and on Twitter @yvonnekohano.

About Yvonne:
After careers as a management consultant and academic university professor, Yvonne Kohano returned to her first great ambition, storytelling in the fictional realm.  Her current work is in the romance and romantic suspense genres, with an upcoming suspense series in progress as well.

Weighing the benefits and risks in today’s publishing market, Yvonne has chosen to follow the indie press route – for now.  Who knows what next year’s publishing industry trends will bring!  She is a member of the RWA and the Sacramento Valley Rose RWA chapter.

Yvonne and her husband John live on a ranch where they used to raise llamas.  Now livestock-free, they spend their time taking cruises, gardening, creating yummy dinners, and keeping their dog kids happy.  And Yvonne reads – a lot!  Her Kindle Fire is never far from her side, often stacked on top of a big pile of must-read paper books and magazines that serve as ongoing inspiration.

In addition to Yvonne’s gift of a book from her Flynn’s Crossing series, for every comment you leave, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL. To increase your chance of winning, please subscribe to receive email notification of future posts (by entering your email address in the box above and to your right) and you’ll be entered into the drawing one additional time.

Photos courtesy of Yvonne Kohano

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Letters, a History Lesson and a New Book

Eileen Rendal Author Photo

Today’s guest, National Bestselling Author Eileen Rendahl (writing as Eileen Carr), is here to talk about the inspiration behind her latest book, Un-Bridaled, one of seven novels included in the Sassy Seven box set. Seven Sexy, Stylish, Scintillating novels from some of today’s Top-selling Authors, available on pre-order for only $.99 (see link below).

Eileen has generously agreed to gift an electronic copy of the box set or a physical copy of Un-Bridaled (your choice). Just leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing.

 

And so, without further ado, I will turn things over to Eileen.

 * * * * *

Hi! My name is Eileen and I’m one of Suzanne’s blog hijackers. We belong to the same fabulous group of romance writers in northern California and when she let us know she needed some help, I was happy to jump in. Especially when I found out why.

My sister and my mother are both breast cancer survivors. My aunt was not so lucky. I’ll do whatever I can to help anyone fighting this fight. So just for a second, let’s all close our eyes and send a big “Go, Suzanne!” out into the Universe.

Now, onto other topics. Several years ago, I cleaned my garage. Yes. It is that big a deal. I am, at best, an indifferent housekeeper and the garage is not even actually in the house! It had gotten, however, to the point where it was difficult to get our bicycles in and out. We live in a big bicycle town and that was simply not acceptable. Hence, a Sunday was committed to by the entire family for garage cleaning.

On one of the shelves, I found a box that had come with us from Arizona and was still unopened. Even I know when you haven’t touched something in four or five years and haven’t missed it, it’s time to toss it. But (and there’s always a but, isn’t there?) the box had belonged to my late husband. I couldn’t just put it in the bin without looking inside.

Eileen Rehndal Photo

Most of what was in there was a collection of stuff from his office. There was one big manila envelope, however, that was stuffed full of other envelopes. Old yellow brittle envelopes. I pulled one out and opened it up. It was a letter from my late husband’s father back to his sister in the States during World War II. All of the letters were from him. They covered years and so much history.

Garage cleaning went on hold and we sat there in the garage opening envelope after envelope and reading them aloud. My kids, who are not exactly known for sitting still, were mesmerized.

This is one of the letters that sent chills down my spine. I knew he’d been part of the D-Day invasion so I knew what he was training for even though he didn’t when he wrote this letter:

Are we ever getting a workout down here. It’s sort of fun, though. We have something new and different every day. The amount of time that we spend in the water leads me to believe that I have been to sea more than most sailors. We train with these seven-man rubber boats. At first I didn’t think they could be tipped over but I sure underestimated the strength of the ocean.

Later on, I couldn’t stop thinking about the letters. The things he told his sister. The things he didn’t tell his sister that I knew about through family lore. The things he played down. They kept running through my mind.

In the end, I used those letters as the basis for a batch of letters found hidden in a wall in my novel Un-Bridaled. A novel that just so happens to be part of a boxed set available now for pre-order on Amazon and iBooks and other fine retailers. If you’re as intrigued as I am by old letters and hidden diaries, I hope you’ll give it a try!

Learn more at www.EileenCarr.com or www.EileenRendahl.com
Like me at www.facebook.com/EileenRendahlandEileenCarr

Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Sassy-Seven-Stylish-Scintillating-Top-selling-ebook/dp/B00MNMWUNS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408139959&sr=8-1&keywords=Sassy+Seven

iBooks link:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sassy-seven-sexy-stylish-scintillating/id908567429?mt=11

About Eileen:
Eileen Rendahl is the author of three Chick Lit books: DO ME, DO MY ROOTS (2004) which was a double Rita finalist and a National Readers Choice Finalist, BALANCING IN HIGH HEELS (2005) and most recently, UN-BRIDALED. As Downtown Press’s Chick Lit with Heart girl, she strives in her novels to expose both the humor and pathos of life. Critics have said that her characters are “humorous, yet heartbreaking” as well as “funny and profound, endearing and absurd, outrageous and comforting, and very, very real” and that she puts them in “situations that at once make you laugh and make you a little sad”.

Eileen grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, although she wasn’t born there. She was born in Dayton, Ohio, but moved when she was four and who remembers anything from before they were four? Except she does remember she was born at the Good Samaritan Hospital across the street from Baskin Robbins because they sent her a coupon for a free ice cream cone every year until she was twelve. Eileen makes a point of remembering anything that has to do with ice cream. Or chocolate. Or champagne.

After many moves (St. Louis, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix), many jobs (art gallery assistant, editorial assistant, copywriter, communications manager, graphic designer, ceramics studio slave) and a smattering of husbands (if you want the details on that, you will have to get her liquored up), she now writes and lives in Davis, California, with her two adorable children, her two annoying cats and one lovely man.

In addition to Eileen’s gift, for every comment you leave, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL. To increase your chance of winning, please subscribe to receive email notification of future posts (by entering your email address in the box above and to your right) and you’ll be entered into the drawing one additional time.

Photos provided by Eileen Rendahl

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Life on the Other Side

Today I am thrilled to host USA Today and New York Times best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon. Lynn is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander.

 

Lynn CahoonLynn lives with her husband and four fur babies. Lynn’s the author of The Tourist Trap Mysteries – GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER (April 2014); MISSION TO MURDER (July 2014) and IF THE SHOE KILLS (November 2014). She also has a bull rider series – THE BULL RIDER’S BROTHER; THE BULL RIDER’S MANAGER; and THE BULL RIDER’S KEEPER. Looking for something on the paranormal side? Check out The Council series – A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL and RETURN OF THE FAE.

 

 

Lynn is also my Pink sister. Today she’s here to talk a little about her breast cancer journey and how it led her to a career she never could’ve imagined.

She has generously offered to gift a copy of GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER to one lucky person. All you have to do to be eligible is to leave a comment below. Lynn will be here all day to answer questions and respond to comments.

Take it away, Lynn…

* * *

When Suzanne called out for guest posts for her blog, I jumped. I’d be glad to help, I wrote in my response.

Then I read her blog.  My motto, jump first, figure it out later.

Sensitive, emotional, insightful- Suzanne’s posts are amazing. My insides turned to jelly. Could I write something at that level? And, besides, now I was worried about poor Jack, the stolen Maltese and his current whereabouts. I own two beefy Pomeranians who I’d be lost without.

So let me start about why I answered Suzanne’s call so quickly.

I’m a breast cancer survivor. 2007 was the year of cancer for me. I went through surgery, chemo, and radiation therapy. On October 3rd, four days before my birthday I was done.

But I wasn’t done being scared. At every doctor appointment, I waited for the words to return.

Seven years later, I still carry a flicker of concern. It’s deeper than it was, but the fear didn’t totally go away. I didn’t even cut my hair when it started growing back, worried the action would be temping the fates.

I did change my life. I became serious about my writing. The C word gives you focus.  It taught me that putting off what I want until someday is a recipe for a failed life. I had been too busy living everyone else’s lives that I forgot to live my own.

So I wrote an essay, then two.  I submitted them and sold within a few months. I thought this writing gig was easy. I didn’t sell another piece for three years.

My husband told our neighbors that he thought I was crazy taking on writing. Maybe a side effect from the chemo. At least he kept his opinion to himself, until I proved him wrong.

I kept writing. And kept reading. And kept submitting. In 2012, my first book was published on June 4th, and I became an author. I kept writing. The only person who can make you fail in this profession is you. I work a full time job, have a husband who likes to camp and ride four-wheels, and I (try to) exercise regularly. I’d say daily, but I don’t want to lie, not on my first time visiting Suzanne’s blog.

Persistence, determination, and doing the work.

And not letting the fear overwhelm you. No matter what.

That’s my new motto. Besides, jump in first and figure it out later.

Or to quote Tim Allen, “Never give up. Never surrender.”

What about you? Have you had an event in your life that has altered your path in a positive way?

More information on Lynn’s books can be found at www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com

Mission to Murder by Lynn Cahoon

In the California coastal town of South Cove, history is one of its many tourist attractions—until it becomes deadly…

Jill Gardner, proprietor of Coffee, Books, and More, has discovered that the old stone wall on her property might be a centuries-old mission worthy of being declared a landmark. Craig Morgan, the obnoxious owner of South Cove’s most popular tourist spot, The Castle, makes it his business to contest her claim. When Morgan is found murdered at The Castle shortly after a heated argument with Jill, even her detective boyfriend has to ask her for an alibi. Jill decides she must find the real murderer to clear her name. But when the killer comes for her, she’ll need to jump from historic preservation to self-preservation …

In addition to Lynn’s generous offer of a free copy of GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER, I will sweeten the kitty. For every comment you leave in the next two weeks, you’ll be entered to win a copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL. To increase your chance of winning, please subscribe to receive email notification of future posts (by entering your email address in the box above and to your right) and you’ll be entered into the drawing one additional time.

Photos provided by Lynn Cahoon.

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Corn Dogs for Everyone!

Patricia Rickrode

Today I am thrilled to host fellow author, friend and critique partner, Patricia Rickrode (writing as Jansen Schmidt). Patricia writes women’s fiction and western romances. She lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills and raises bucking bulls with her husband. She’s also a Disney fanatic (seriously) and lover of all things sparkly.

Patricia is fun, sassy and sure to entertain. And the best part? She brought corn dogs for everyone!

 

Patricia will be here today to answer questions and respond to comments. She will gift a $10 i-Tunes gift card to one lucky commenter. In addition, for every comment made this week, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win an autographed copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL. Winner will be chosen on August 31st and will be notified by email.

And now, on with the show.

* * *

Late last year I happened upon the coolest kid on the planet – Kid President. I’ve posted a couple of his videos in the past and I think it’s time for another round, so put on your dancing shoes and get ready to boogie.

And guys in particular pay attention to numbers 7 and 5.

So, what’d’ya say? Can we all try being a little nicer this year? I’m game. And I’ll go first: I appreciate all of you, my dear readers and wish you nothing but success this year. Now it’s your turn, and remember,  if you can’t think of something nice to say, you’re not thinking hard enough. (I love that!)

corn dogWhat do you think people should say more often? While you’re thinking, enjoy a corn dog on me.

Word of the Day: Yapok

Fun fact about me: I’ve been playing the piano for over 40 years! (That’s right, I started in the womb.)

Patricia will be here all day responding to comments. For every comment left, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win an autographed copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL.

To learn more about Patricia, visit her here:

http://www.jansenschmidt.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JansenSchmidtAuthor
Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/JansenSchmidt
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/JansenSchmidt
Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/jansenschmidt

To subscribe to receive email notification of future posts, simply enter your email address in the box above and to your right.

 

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Secrets of an Erotic Romance Writer

Dee Brice Portrait

Today’s guest may not have written Fifty Shades of Gray, but with twenty erotic romance novels to her credit, this spunky woman is no stranger to the erotic romance.

Dee Brice believes she was born with a pen in one hand and a writing pad in the other. Determined not to work in an office, this wannabe actress never learned to type well. She still composes with pen and pad (can you believe it?), then transcribes her manuscripts onto her computer.

Dee lives in Northern California with her inspiration, best friend, and husband. She loves to read, and of course, write. Passion’s Four Towers, Dee’s first published novel, was nominated for a Psyche Award in 2008. His Virtual Assassin finaled in Passionate Ink’s 2008 Passionate Plume contest.

Dee is here today to talk about how she fell in love with writing Erotica. Okay, Dee, take it away, but don’t make me have pull out my redactor! *grins*

Passion’s Treasures Series

How Each Book Came About

Passion’s Four Towers
In 2005, while attending a presentation about Ellora’s Cave Publishing, I won an EC Cavemen anthology. I don’t usually read anthologies—the stories are too short—but this was the book I selected. (Mainly due to a writer I knew telling me she had a story in this particular book. And so did a speaker I’d enjoyed listening to earlier in the day.) I thoroughly enjoyed every story in the anthology and thought Gee, I wonder if I can write something that sexy and fun!

I can’t recall exactly where the idea came from but I started writing like crazy. I wrote scenes willy-nilly then put them together. In January 2006—despite mistrusting the whole idea of “mailing” via the internet—I sent my partial manuscript off into cyberspace.

And received an acknowledgement that my baby actually reached its destination. Whew! Was that a relief! In March 2006 someone very nice informed me my manuscript had been placed in queue for an acquiring editor. Then I was asked to submit the full manuscript. Which is when the real test of patience began.

Around the middle of October 2006 I received a gentle rejection—my sex scenes were too “off-stage” but if I cared to “open the bedroom door” I was welcome to resubmit. I did.

On November 1, 2006 my editor offered me a contract. WHEEEEE!

This book was so much fun to write, I had to keep going.

Kerrie’s Quest for Passion
I admit it. When I wrote Passion’s Four Towers I set myself up to write a sequel. But I couldn’t coax Gerard and Edgar to come out and play. Their encounters with Yvonne apparently wore them out.

Kerrie, dead at the time I wrote about her daughters, was more than willing to let me tell her story. In fact, she shrieked like a banshee, wailed like Marley’s ghost complete with rattling chains. In short she acted like the bitch her daughters thought she was.

Being a pantser—someone who doesn’t plot beyond a very basic story idea—I had so much fun learning about what drove this woman to marry three times and have children with each of her husbands. Having written Passion’s Four Towers, I knew the names of Kerrie’s husbands and that led to how I organized Kerrie’s book—one for each husband with entr’acts that were solely about this remarkable woman.

Remarkable? After I’d written her as a sex-starved woman who might have murdered her husbands once they’d provided an heir? Well, yes. Because, in Kerrie’s world protecting her children and Marchonland meant everything. And she learned a valuable lesson. In the end, love is all that matters.

Passion’s Twins
When I wrote Passion’s Four Towers and Kerrie’s Quest for Passion I had no particular medieval timeframe in mind. What I wanted to create was an imaginary country ruled by strong, lusty women. In editing this third book, my editor—bless her insistent-on-historical-accuracy heart!—pointed out language inappropriate for the time period. That sent me to the Oxford English Dictionary and to the Internet to find out what was happening in the medieval world surrounding my fictitious Marchonland.

Lots! The Hundred Years War. The War of the Roses. And—oh joy!—the introduction of the printing press in 1476 to England by William Caxton. Although books are noticeably missing from Passion’s Twins, I felt I owed a debt of gratitude to Mr. Caxton and set this book in the 1480s.

For readers interested in etymology, I apologize for using historically incorrect terms for my heroes’ private parts. Somehow I couldn’t bring myself to write verge and pillicock for Gerard’s and Edgar’s…appendages.

My editor also suggested I expand the role of Kerrie, queen of Marchonland—deceased before I wrote Passion’s Four Towers—in Passion’s Twins. What fun to include a touch of fantasy from this meddlesome yet loving spirit!

Since I hadn’t sold these books as a series I needed something to do while waiting for acceptance. So…I began Virtual Seductions, starting with His Virtual Virgin and then continuing at the beginning of the alphabet. I intend to become the Sue Grafton of erotic romance. So far I’ve gotten to G (His Virtual Gift). One day I may write more in the series. For now, however, there are so many stories, so many new characters…

Dee Brice
Erotic Fantasies Where Nothing is Forbidden
www.deebrice.net

Coming in September, 2014

Dee Brice Bearded for her pleasure

Fifty-two-year-old Jocelyn Bogart’s long-missing libido has left her depressed and dry. Enter bearded sixty-year-old Hank Hawthorne. He reawakens Joce’s senses and helps her discover erogenous zones she’s only read about.

Problem one: She lives in California. He lives in Colorado.

Problem two: He’s under investigation for professional negligence. And Joce’s been hired to prove him guilty.

Stupendous sex? Or her professional reputation? A calculated risk could help Joce keep both—or lose everything.

Dee will be giving away a copy of her book Temptress of Time (e-book or print) or Bearded for His Pleasure (but you’ll have to wait for it to be released in mid-September). Must be 18 to qualify. All you have to do is leave a comment below to be eligible.

In addition, for every comment you leave in the next two weeks, you’ll be entered to win a copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL. To increase your chance of winning, please subscribe to receive email notification of future posts (by entering your email address in the box above and to your right) and you’ll be entered into the drawing one additional time.

Photos provided by Dee Brice.

 

 

 

 

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Mixing Religion and Mainstream Romance

Today is a very special day. Not just because it’s the first day of the Great Blog Takeover, but also for another reason. I’ll let today’s guest, Jessi Gage, tell you why it’s so special. Let me just say that I am honored she decided to share it with US!

But first, a little about our special guest:

Jessi Gage headshot2

Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, faeries…you name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she’s sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.

 

 

And, so without further ado, here’s Jessi.

* * * * *

I’m honored to guest post for Suzanne today. As she mentioned, today is a special day for me, and I’m thrilled to share it with some new friends.

Today is RELEASE DAY for the second in my Blue Collar Boyfriends series, JADE’S SPIRIT! *blows horn, throws confetti*

Any time a writer releases a book into the wild, she is likely to be nervous about its reception. Will anyone buy it? Will anyone read it? Will anyone like it?

On top of that are all the personal insecurities related to being a romance author. Will my family think it’s too risqué? What if my coworkers figure out my penname? Is the issue my character tackles too incendiary?

I’m even more nervous than usual this time, because JADE’S SPIRIT deals with religious themes, which I usually avoid like the Plague because I don’t want to offend or confuse anyone. My author brand is time-travel/Highlander romance (Highland Wishes series) and contemporary romance with a paranormal twist (Blue Collar Boyfriends series). I’m not an inspy writer (that’s short for inspirational romance). I don’t write characters whose journey’s include finding their way in a spiritual sense. Or do I? I’m not so sure anymore.

I often infuse my stories with ideals that come from my love for God’s Word and His message. Forgiveness and redemption are two of my favorite themes. JADE’S SPIRIT goes a step deeper. The hero is boldly, unflinchingly Christian.

Emmett is a small town twenty-seven year old who is typical in many respects. He runs a lawn-care business. He has a lot of friends. He’s handsome, athletic, fun-loving…and a virgin.

I decided to write a character—a male character—who took a virginity vow as a teenager and kept it despite years of temptation and a chronically flirtatious personality. When he meets the heroine, Jade, an ex-stripper from Boston, his usual amount of sexual temptation skyrockets. Add to the mix an incubus demon who feeds on lust, and Emmett finds himself in a potentially deadly situation.

JADE’S SPIRIT started as a lark (ha, ha, what would happen if I paired a virginal Christian guy with a stripper?). But it kind of turned into something I’m proud of and want to share. On the other hand, some days I feel like hiding this story “under a bushel” so I can maintain my non-offensive author brand.

JADE’S SPIRIT will offend some people. The prominent messages are that God exists and so does the battle between good and evil, that those who dismiss God are more easily preyed upon by demons, and that God has a purpose deeper than what we humans can understand.

There are also strong messages of accepting people who believe different things than you do, of looking not to religion to find deity but to deity to find love, and through love, to practice religion.

Personally, I am able to separate my love for God from what I expect out of the fiction I read. I devour everything from inspirational romance to erotica to medical mysteries to horror. As a thinking human being, I am able to find entertainment in literature even if I don’t agree with the views of the antagonists. Some of my favorite authors write antagonists who are witches, werewolves, immortal faeries, demons, and regular humans who fornicate their brains out and enjoy some kink in the bedroom.

I hope readers of all faiths will find something of value and something to relate to in Emmett and Jade’s story. Of all the themes and undercurrents, the most powerful message is one of love.

Whoever and however you worship, if you’re a romance reader, you understand the power of love.

What do you think? Is there room for devoutly Christian characters in mainstream romance or am I trying to smash a square peg into a round hole? Do you have some favorite controversial books to recommend?

Thank you for reading and sharing! To show my appreciation, I have an e-copy of JADE’S SPIRIT to gift to one commenter. I will be here all day to answer any questions and respond to comments.

JessiGage_JadesSpirit Book Cover_1400px

When exotic dancer Jade seeks refuge from an abusive boyfriend in her grandmother’s aging Victorian home, she finds she’s not the only houseguest. A dream-invading incubus has taken up residence, and it wants Jade’s soul. Fortunately, a flirtatious lawn-care provider has a trick or two up his sleeve for dealing with hauntings. And he has definite rebound-guy potential—if only he would stop inviting her to church.

The virginity vow Emmett “the lawn guy” Herald took when he was seventeen has become legendary in Dover, Vermont. Ten years later, everyone is waiting to see if he’ll blow a decade of “waiting for marriage” now that he’s dating the new girl from the big city. Even Emmett thinks he has met his match in the vivacious Boston beauty. In fact, he’s starting to think virginity may be overrated.

A spark of attraction ignites between Jade and Emmett, and quickly grows into a roaring inferno. But with a demon fanning the flames, attraction has never been so perilous.

For buy links, please click over to Jessi’s website. The links are so fresh, you might want to blow on them before tasting.

To connect with Jessi, leave a comment or find her at any of the following hang-outs:

Website | Blog | Facebook Fan Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter Sign-up

In addition to Jessi’s generous offer of a free copy of her brand new release, JADE’S SPIRIT.

In addition, for every comment you leave in the next two weeks, you’ll be entered to win a copy of my upcoming release, THE MANY LIVES OF JUNE CRANDALL. To increase your chance of winning, please subscribe to receive email notification of future posts (by entering your email address in the box above and to your right) and you’ll be entered into the drawing one additional time.

Photos provided by Jessi Gage.

 

 

 

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